Pyramid restored to as it looked 1,300 years ago
Pyramid restored to as it looked 1,300 years ago (MASAAKI ARAI/ THE ASAHI SHIMBUN)
A mound of earth that 1,300 years ago looked like the pyramid pictured was restored to its original shape and unveiled Friday after a five-year restoration project in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture. The earthen pyramid called Doto is a kind of Buddhist stupa, where relics of Buddha are supposedly stored.
The original structure is believed to have been built on the orders of the priest Gyoki (668-749) and is designated as a historic site. It is thought to stand on the site of the Onodera temple, which was built by Gyoki in 727. The new structure measures 53.1 meters on each side and stands 8.6 meters. It is adorned with 50,000 reddish-brown tiles.
A similar pyramid stupa, called Zuto, stands in Nara, but its base measurements are 20 meters shorter. The Sakai pyramid is the largest earthwork stupa in Japan, according to a local cultural assets official. It had been reduced to a mere ``heap of earth" before the city conducted a survey from fiscal 1998 to 2003 and started restoration work in fiscal 2004.(IHT/Asahi: March 28,2009)